Are You Weird in the Best Way?

We all want the best for our children.

I’m comfortable with that statement because who would argue otherwise?

Let me just ripple the waters of common thinking, however, by suggesting that our modern idea of what is “best” has been polluted by the world.

My mother often expresses regret that my parents couldn’t afford to send me to private school when in first grade I tested at an advanced level. The choices made for me back then did, in fact, cause me deep and lasting pain. I spent six years being educated separately from the rest of my classmates. They set me apart as terminally different, freakishly strange, and more trouble than I was worth. My personality bears an impression from that time like the dent on a car hood after impact with a deer.

From the world’s perspective, this was not the best for me (and the educators did, indeed, make some bonehead decisions) but God has the last word on my life, no one else. He was there with me in those days. Teachers would lose their patience as I sped through my assignments with four hours left in the school day. Their daily fallback plan? “Lori, just go to the library, research something, and write about it.” That’s right. I spent hours and hours from first through sixth grade digesting information that interested me and writing about it.

Plus, they didn’t care if I read my Bible, even in public school. Anything to keep me occupied. So, I did. Over and over. And because I was a social leper, I spent hours alone studying the Bible, analyzing hymns, and talking with God. I became weird in the best way. Being invisible made me a listener, a see-er, a knower of human beings. The skills I developed watching people from the “outside” contribute to my ability to help families now in my day job.

See what I mean? If we could write our children’s stories, we would write them without conflict. However, the author of salvation knows that from conflict and suffering He can produce godly character and a soul that bears much fruit.

Modern American believers haven’t quite grasped that we may need to suffer more than just disapproval or unpopularity in order to live our faith. Chinese Christians know that making public their faith may doom their family to poverty. In this life, they lose all hope of providing “the best” for their children. They are barred from careers they are gifted, skilled, and trained to do. Brilliant minds, hungry for stimulation, are assigned work as shopkeepers or janitors because of Jesus Christ.

As I prayed with other Christian writers last weekend at a retreat, in my spirit’s eye, I saw Christian writers locked in North Korean labor camps or forbidden to write in oppressive China or beaten and tortured in the Mid-East. I wept knowing that while I nurse selfish dreams for my writing, these writers must trust Jesus that they will write one day in glory.

Their stories remain untold, locked behind prison bars as these fellow Kingdom writers waste away wanting for bread, light, or human kindness. While we were bemoaning the state of modern publishing, these writers scratch words onto prison walls hoping the next inhabitant will be encouraged in Christ when they are dead and gone.

These brothers and sisters live this verse I am only beginning to understand: “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.” 2 Peter 4:19

In the news today, I read that “After an unfortunate decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, John Kallam Jr. – a magistrate in Rockingham County, North Carolina – is resigning, because his new obligation to perform marriages for homosexual couples “would desecrate a holy Institution established by God Himself” and violates his deeply held religious convictions.” Here is an American believer who gets it. We must be prepared to stand by our convictions even when it costs us “our best life now.”

Of course, we want the best for our children but are we better parents than the Father God? He sent His only Son into the world, born into a poor family, to suffer and die for the world. This, loved ones, is an example of a Father providing the best for His child.

The best for our children is Jesus. Our best life now is one that obeys Jesus and follows Him wherever He leads. Yes, I want my children to be healthy, strong, loved, accepted, educated, and free to pursue a passion that utilizes all their talents and strengths. When suffering or obstacles interfere with that, I hate it. But suffering must come. Obstacles will appear. And the nearer we are to the end, the greater likelihood that more of us will have to sacrifice in the name of Jesus.

God always has the last word on our lives. Joseph’s brothers were wrong to sell him into slavery but God was the with Him in it. It was wrong for King Xerxes to take women into his possession as concubines but God was with Hadassah even when her name was Esther. It was wrong for the Jews to stone Stephen but he saw Jesus as he died.

We must pay attention to the persecuted church not only out of love for them but because we have much to learn from them about God’s best for His children. Some of us will write bestselling books read by millions and God be praised. But God also be praised by the writer who fashions a pen from stone and scratches a single verse of scripture onto a prison wall that it may bring comfort to the next inhabitant.

Do you or your children suffer, loved ones? This is the way of this world. If Jesus is with us, though, He will have the final word and it won’t be suffering, it will be FREEDOM!


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7 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Hallo Lori

    I write to you from South Africa.

    I regularly read your material; it is always spot-on and challenging. It was again the case with this morning’s article. Thank you!!!

    Gerhard Papenfus

  2. Debra says:

    God knew the plan he had for you all along, dear Lori. Those hours and days and years you spent writing and researching and reading the Bible as a child were only preparing you for your Divine Destiny, glorifying Him with your writing and reaching out to others. Truly you are a prime example of “And we know that ALL things work together for the good of those who love God, for those who are called according to His purpose.”

  3. Bruce Cunningham says:

    This article speaks to the deepest and most enduring pain I’ve ever dealt with.
    Lord- help me to be true to You till the end. Help me to trust, though I don’t understand. You alone are sovereign. We are all Yours to do with as you will. Paint a beautiful picture with our children. Be glorified in them as only You can do.
    Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterspouts!

  4. Linda McClellan says:

    Hi Lori,

    Just wanted to tell you that I was so excited when I logged on and there was a picture of you book. I ordered it weeks ago on Amazon so it won’t be much longer. I love to read but when I read Christian books I am the Queen of underlining, hi-lighting, and all that. I love the way you write. God bless Lori and I’ll be watching for it. Peace!

    • Aren’t you so kind to say all that! Thanks for letting me know, Linda. I hope you love the book. I’ve prayed (and am praying) for all the readers who find their way to the words there. mercy and grace, Lori